C.J. Conrad

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No. 12 Kentucky upsets unranked Missouri on TD with no time left

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Yes, you read that first half of that headline correctly.  And the last half was even more unbelievable.

Despite Kentucky entering Saturday at 6-1 and ranked 12th in the country, 4-3 Missouri, winless in SEC play, was a touchdown-ish favorite at home in Memorial Stadium. In the end, UK showed that the wise guys aren’t right all the time.

Very literally snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, an improbable 81-yard drive culminated in a touchdown with no time left on the clock to give the Wildcats a walk-off 15-14 win over the Tigers in Columbia.  The game-winning points came on a two-yard touchdown pass from Terry Wilson to C.J. Conrad on an untimed down; on the previous play, Mizzou was called for pass interference in the end zone to give the Wildcats one final shot.

Missouri actually took a 14-3 lead into halftime, but could do nothing in the second half.  Literally.

The Tigers had eight offensive possessions over the last two quarters.  On all eight possessions, they went three-and-out.   That’s right, Mizzou failed to record a single first down the entire second half.  It was all part and parcel of an abysmal offensive performance that saw the Tigers muster just 249 yards of offense and average just 2.4 yards per carry.

The Wildcats weren’t much better on the ground as they were at 2.6 ypc, although they did get 294 yards through the air from Wilson.

Despite their host’s offensive ineptness, Kentucky still trailed 14-3 until deep into the fourth quarter when Lynn Bowden‘s 67-yard punt return for a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining breathed some much-needed life into the Wildcats.  A Wilson interception on UK’s next offensive possession a minute later could have iced the game for Mizzou, but, you guessed it, another three-and-out handed the ball back to the Wildcats with 1:24 remaining.

From there, Wilson and his 87 yards passing on the 81-yard game-winning drive (he was sacked twice) set the stage for the late-game heroics.

With the win, Kentucky and Georgia remain tied atop the SEC East at 5-1.  It also sets the stage for a huge Week 10 matchup as the Wildcats will play host to the Bulldogs next Saturday.

So huge, in fact, that, as both teams have beaten 4-2 Florida, and the next-closest team in the division is 2-3 South Carolina, the winner of the UGA-UK game will win the division and represent the East in the SEC championship game in early December.

Alabama-Kentucky in Atlanta, anyone?